FIERCEbkfasthealthyBreakfast is, without a doubt, the most important meal of the day, but it’s also the first thing many women go without when busy mornings become too hectic. But it’s well worth your while to find an extra 15 minutes to pull together a quick, portable meal before you dash out the door.

Getting a lean, high-protein, nutritionally balanced start can help you lose weight, concentrate and have more energy throughout the day. So here’s a quick, delicious option, with variations, for starting your day.

If you have a few minutes, quiche (the low-fat variety) can be a quick and easy breakfast that will keep you satisfied until lunch, especially at this time of year — after weeks of holiday over-indulging.

To make the dish healthier and easy to tote, skip the traditional piecrust and bake the eggs in giant muffin tins with an assortment of light ingredients. For a lean, high-protein option, sprinkle diced Canadian bacon or smoked salmon into the mix, eliminate or reduce the amount of potatoes, and add more vegetables. You can add a dusting of Parmesan cheese as a savory, low-calorie topping.

The recipe is flexible, so feel free to use your imagination and go with your favorite flavors. Don’t like oregano? Try thyme. Want richer taste? Stir low-fat, shredded cheese into the eggs and skip the Parmesan.

To boost nutrition and energy, add a small bowl of fruit or a slice of high-fiber, whole-grain toast, if you have time.

For a lower-fat recipe, substitute two eggs whites, for every whole egg.

These minis keep well in the fridge or freezer, and they can be easily packed up and reheated in the office microwave.

Crustless Mini-Veggie Quiches

Servings: 6

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 cup frozen hash browns, optional

1 small zucchini, sliced in half, then sliced into thin rounds

3/4 cup sliced mushrooms

6 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons skim milk

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons minced parsley

Salt, pepper

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat, until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Add potatoes, if desired, and cook 5 minutes longer, turning vegetables over occasionally to brown on all sides. Add zucchini and mushrooms and cook 3 minutes longer.

In a small bowl, beat together eggs, milk and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Spray a giant-sized muffin tin with non-stick vegetable spray. Spoon vegetable mixture into the six muffin cups, dividing evenly. Pour in the egg mixture and top each quiche with 1 teaspoon of cheese and a pinch of paprika. Bake in oven about 15 to 20 minutes, or just until eggs are set around the edges.

Variation: Instead of potatoes, zucchini and mushrooms, substitute 2 cups frozen mixed Asian vegetables, thawed and drained. Cook 5 minutes.

Approximate nutrition per serving: Calories 308 (whole eggs) or 60 (with egg whites); Sodium 624.3 mg.